Suicide Squad made me nervous.
No, it’s not the conventional wisdom that DC dosen’t make good movies (but we’ll get to that later….), it really started with the casting of Will Smith as Deadshot.
See, I’m a fan. I remember being intrigued by the ads for SS in the back of my Superman and Star Trek comics in the late 80’s. I remember grabbing nearly half the run out of the fifty cent bins at Astonish! around 1990. I remember buying the Deadshot mini series off the rack at the drug store in 1988 (how did that pass the comics code anyhow? I can’t believe there’s no Mature readers warning on it…) I read both revivals, and it was one of the few titles I actually jumped on board with when the new 52 came around. So what it came down to was if they would capture the feel of the comic – the dynamic that made it work.
Thank God. They did. It’s TOTALLY Suicide squad. It’s chaotic, people die, things go horribly wrong, it’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a SS movie. Even Will Smith almost made me forget he all wrong for the role – played it surprisingly low key. HQ was dead on. There was JUST enough Boomerang….I want more next time though. In particular I want to see more squabbling between him and Deadshot – a staple from the comics. The pink Unicorn thing was strange. I wonder if that was part of the reshoots…an afterthough by the producers when following a screening od Deadpool?
El Diablo was surprisingly well developed. Waller was dead on (actually better than her portrayl in green Lantern. I was surprised). I loved EVERY moment of it. But even more astonishingly – my daughter loved every moment of it.
She thought it was one of the most exciting things she’d ever seen. She was a little peeved about Katana only speaking Japenese, but was still stoked to see her on the screen. She immediatly got the connections to BvS and was super excited to catch that. She though Harley was hilarious. As soon as Enchantress came on the screen she gasped and demanded I make her an enchantress costume.
So why do I feel this sense of Deja Vu?
I’ve spent a great deal of this weekend rolling my eyes at the constant negative reviews. I can’t believe these people saw the same movie as I did. I do think there is some element of Marvel vs DC – particularly on the Critics side. Once again, Rotten Tomatoes is showing high marks on the viewer score and low on the critic score. Interestingly, while a lot of that managed to thoroughly label BvS a flop (despite making well over 800 million – that three times it’s budget folks!) and a bad movie the same stigma isn’t managing to stick quite as well to SS.
From real people, There’s a couple of things I’m hearing consistently. One is about the Joker. I do get this. I really do. I still hate the facial tattoos and the grill on the teeth. But you know what? I actually dig the performance. I said it way back in January “it’s happened in the past that a person’s performance can get you past all of that. It’s what I’m very much hoping for here”. Turns out, that is indeed what we got. Leto’s Joker is creepy and ratchets up the crazy, finally hitting the level I’m used to seeing in the comics. I think a lot of people are holding on to Heath Ledger’s performance. I really do. It’s considered one of the definitive Jokers ever. The fact that I hate it personally, probably helps me let got a little easier. If the anarchist is what you’re looking for, then yeah, you’ll hate this. If you can’t get past the tats, you’ll hate this. I was skeptical about the cloths myself. In that same article I also wrote “The Joker is supposed to be a dandy, impeccable and unflappable in a crazy sort of way. ” It took a moment, but I realized that this Joker really WAS a dandy. Flamboyant, in a mid 2000’s way – yet just as uninterested in actual fashion as his comic counterpart. In short, he works. I really do encourage you too look past some of the superficial here. There’s actually a LOT to like about this Joker.
The other main complaint I consistently hear is that it’s too confusing. I have a problem with this because I wasn’t confused at all. I liked having a couple of quickie short films at the beginning to introduce us to the skwad as Waller flips through the files. In fact, I like it WAY better than taking up half a movie with an origin story. I couldn’t understand how this was confusing. Sam Stutler suggested to me that “maybe it’s because the story was so enmeshed in the medium. (like say, Watchmen)”. I’m not sure I agree with this. While the tone really did skew close to SS (this is NOT a superhero movie guys. It’s not Avengers on with bad guys – it’s something else entirely), it’s not the comic book. You can see the writers read the comics though….there’s a great moment with Captain Boomerang and Slipknot that is pulled STRAIGHT out of one of the earliest issues. It’s nearly word for word and uses the exact same characters. I squeeled like a little girl.
I think my friend Jen put it into better perspective for me. She claimed there seemed like too much you were expected to know going in. “There’s too many mones where it’s just like ‘you know…’. No! I don’t know!”. It could be that my familiarity with the characters blinds me to this. We’re living in an age where Harley Quinn is univerally known, and Deadshot isn’t far behind. But she may be right. I’m used to this story structure. Do the mission get time off, or get released outright. Squad is
expendable. Wander off get your hand or later on head) blown off. I got the visual ques right away, maybe some of this stuff wasn’t spelled out enough. erhaps that stuff should have been in the commercials instead of the quirky music and “worst heroes ever” tagline.
Still, despite the confusion, a lot of those folks seemed to like the movie just on the strength of it’s bright chaotic action strenghts alone – and that’s a good sign that DC is on the right track, no matter what the critics say.
As far as I’m concerned, this was the best film I’ve seen all year.
Oh by the way, John Ostrander – the creator of Amanda Waller and writer on that original run of SS in the 80’s as well as Writer of Stuff Peter David and director/comic writer Kevin Smith all thought it was pretty dope as well…..
(warning, strong language abounds)